By Andrew Liszewski
To be honest, I always preferred Johnny Lightning’s die-cast offerings over Hot Wheels when I was younger. Sure, they were a bit more expensive, but I felt the extra attention to detail was worth it. But the one thing that Johnny Lightning never had (to the best of my knowledge) was its own video game. Hot Wheels for the Commodore 64 was a slightly more obscure title, and like Nintendogs or GTA it provided a sandbox approach to gaming where there was really no defined goal. You spent your time driving around a small city where you could stop at gas stations, enter demolition derbies and even swap your ride for a firetruck which required you to put out random fires around the city. Basically the same stuff you did with real Hot Wheels cars and playsets in your parent’s living room.
At the start of the game you could choose from a small selection of pre-designed vehicles (which vaguely resembled actual Hot Wheels cars) or you could walk into the factory and design your own, which was probably the best part of the game. Using your joystick as a mouse, you assembled your car from various components and you could even send it to the paint shop and choose from a mind-blowing selection of 12 different colors! Overall Hot Wheels wasn’t the most exciting or challenging game in my giant box of C64 floppy disks, but it’s open-ended nature made it a staple of those occasional rainy Saturday afternoons.